A grandmother will be Britain’s oldest first-time voter today(Thurs) – aged 102.
Turkish-born Ayse Icoz moved to the UK ten years ago and gained British citizenship just in time to vote in the general and local election.
Kurdish Ayse, who has five children and 21 grandchildren, moved to the country to be with her son Riza Icoz, 46, who runs a restaurant and kebab van business.
Riza, who is her carer, said his mother proudly holds her British passport and he will be driving her to the polling station from her home in Cambridge so she can vote.
The process of securing citizenship in the UK has taken almost 10 years and Riza says Ayse, who has limited English, has been looking forward to taking part in the poll for a long time.
Ayse has voted in Turkish elections, but says she has been keen to vote in the UK for ten years – despite refusing to reveal her party of choice.
Riza said: “My mum is proud to have become a British citizen, and to be able to exercise her right to vote for the first time in a general election at this grand old age.
“I think it must be a record age for a first-time British voter. I don’t know who she will be voting for – that’s her secret. But she is very excited.”
Family friend Robin Standring, 40, said: “I can’t imagine there is an older first-time voter anywhere in the country.”
Ayse was born in Turkey when it was still the Ottoman Empire and moved to the UK after her husband Mahmut died of old age at 110 years-old in 2012.
Winning citizenship also means Ayse, who has always been a stay at home mum, can look forward to getting a card from the Queen for the first time in July on her 103rd birthday.
At the other end of the spectrum, Katie Edwards, of Cambridge, will be spending her 18th birthday heading to the ballot box for the first time.